RGDATA SAYS CHANGES TO RETAIL CAP WILL LEAVE CONSUMERS WITH LESS CHOICE & HIGHER PRICES
RGDATA, the representative association for independent family owned shops, convenience stores and supermarkets today warned that increasing store size caps just to “tick a box for the Troika” will seriously damage Irish town centres and ultimately leave consumers with less choice and higher prices. Increasing the retail caps and introducing new measures to facilitate out of town retailers will merely hasten the decline of already fragile town centres.
“For those of us who live, work, run businesses and bring up families in Ireland we need a vibrant, diverse competitive retail sector. Independent family owned shops employ over 90,000 people and contribute about €3.5 billion to the national and local economies. 75% of what we sell is produced in Ireland or sold through Irish suppliers. We need a planning regime that supports sustainable development that will ensure vibrant towns and villages, retail diversity, plenty of consumer choice, good competition, value, quality and local shops that people can walk to,” said RGDATA Director General, Tara Buckley.
Any changes to the Retail Planning Guidelines must deliver an improved retail landscape not large monopolies, fewer shops and ghost towns and villages.
RGDATA has serious concerns about the new Draft Retail Planning Guidelines published yesterday and now open for public consultation with submissions due by 20 December.
“We are relieved to see that the Minister remains committed to retail caps and to vibrant towns and villages. However, we are deeply concerned that changes to increase the cap sizes in some circumstances are being mooted without any justification. The Forfas study, on which the changes are based, provides no factual evidence that the changes will deliver more competition and lower prices. It fact it warns that permitting very large operators may led to local monopolies, less choice and higher prices. The Draft Guidelines also include a specific provision that will allow the proliferation of out of town retail centres. This will have a very regressive impact on town and village centres. Ireland has been ahead of our European neighbours regarding sustainable retail planning. The current Retail Planning Guidelines have been effective where they have been enforced. We should not repeat the mistakes made in retail planning by our EU neighbours with ghost towns and the decline in local shops. The Troika should not be allowed to force unsustainable planning changes which will leave a permanent scar on our landscape.” said Buckley.
“RGDATA will review the Draft Guidelines and will make a considered submission to the Government by December 20. We urge any one who is interested in Ireland, our community life, vibrant towns and villages, attracting tourism, retail diversity, competition, choice, local jobs, Irish food producers and farmers to make their voice heard. Don’t let the Troika make us introduce changes that will lead to urban dereliction, ghost towns and the closure of local, family owned shops,” said Buckley.
For further info contact RGDATA 01-2887584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org